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Old 29th August 2008, 12:42 AM
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Default memory of water

JACQUES BENVENISTE

"memory of water" findings, first reported in NATURE in 1988, and their offspring.

welcomes your comments and debate of the epistemological, sociological, and philosophical aspects of the research and controversy on the" memory of water" discovery, which is now centered on the physical nature of the biological signal and on the role of water in its transmission Homeopathy?

What do my critics and friends say about the endless interrogation of our research? Is it personal? Does it threaten the established model of the biological signaling process?
Is the questioning based on the type of financial support which, for a short period back in 1987-88 underwrote our research? Or is it ideological, by fear of a scientific support to an once and for all heretic practice,

Do we threaten "Big Science" and the financial support by government authorities world-wide that has yielded such meager new theories with beneficial application to medicine?
On a broader scale, let's discuss why science -particularly biomedicine- has become so refractory to really new advances and concepts.

Just a few questions for a start: does the word "skeptics" belong to the realm of science, when only confrontation of facts with existing and proposed theories should fuel the scientific debate?

Is it scientifically sound -and even ethical- to require external replication of controversial data, and them only, before publication? (Please don't be mistaken: we are doing it, right now, but is it not against the law?) What would happen to science if this requirement was generalized? More generally, should we enforce the common sense principle which says: "special (which means more stringent) laws for special results"? Let's think of it: is it scientific to vary the conditions of publication of a set of data according to their possible impact on the currently reigning theories? Speculating a bit further, would it not make sense to adopt an exactly inverse position: be lenient with "baby results" which do not stand that well on their two feet yet. Where is the risk? To commit errors? They are intrinsic to the scientific process. With the best of intentions, would not any attempt to suppress errors, as it would be to forbid soccer players to miss goals, simply bring science to a grinding halt? No risk, no science.

Going even further: what threatens more scientific progress? Either letting a minuscule number of fraudulent data provisionally appear (and inevitably fade away) or kill dead those uncomfortable facts, that, in the history of science, have always paved the way for ground-breaking advances?
(see "A Crime Far Worse Than Fraud Threatens Scientific Progress", The Scientist).

On these various points, you may easily guess my answers, and my opinion on this recent prevalence of a witch-hunting climate,
the scientifically correct attitude,
which has become the major block to the emergence of those new paradigms, the lack of which is nowadays severely crippling the advancement of science.
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